The world loses solidity. Crickets, rubbing their legs since August, quiet; the rumbling of airplanes quiets. Now flowers from the hedges stick out. And jelly mushrooms, branched like coral, grow through the moss. The world slips; a dream arrays.
The camera lowers in the room. It is dim, small, and illuminated by amber candlelight. Against the wall is a graying desk, the items atop covered in shadows. Clocks on the wall tick together, apart, quietly crunching seconds. In the center of the room sits a bed. Its frame is made of iron; at the top are pillows, two, which bear the indents of two heads. The quilt peels backwards like potato skin to the mattress.
A man sits backwards astraddle a woodenchair, his head lowered into the hollow made by his crossed arms. The slick black spikes of his hair reflect the candle’s guttering: white dots flick over the tips. He wears an oilskin jacket of yellow; his collars of white and blue peek out. The man slowly shakes his head back and forth, mumbling words of dejection.
The tattoo on her back scrunches, unscrunches as she crawls on her knees across the bed. Her hands reach the edge, she twirls to face the ceiling, her short black hair flashes. She bends her knees and crosses her right leg over her left. Then she says:
—It’s going to have to wait.
I creak a step left on the solemn floor.
—Ahh, the man sighs, shaking his head like an ox.
In an open pink shirt, khaki pants, he lies next to her. As he mumbles his fingertip traces down her belly. She takes his arm by the wrist and, lifting the tracing hand, lays it across her chest. She brushes her fingernails up and down.
Mars scintillates in the window. They begin to kiss slowly.
They turn over one another. Her hair falls over his face, her laughter peels to his monotone. The clocks tick heavier. They draw on together coiling and uncoiling, the bedsheets tracing their winding.
Doused with shame I hold up my palms. Midges walk to my fingertips.